Russia has raised concern over Ukraine’s military build-up in the region, urging members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to address the issue in an upcoming meeting.
According to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday, Kiev interim authorities have deployed 11,000 troops, 230 armored vehicles, 160 tanks and 150 artillery pieces to southeastern Ukraine.
“The numbers and composition of this group exceed the numbers of the local citizens’ self-defense units by many times, and…allow one to speak of the possibility of indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force.… These facts should cause deep concern among OSCE member states,” the statement read.
The ministry made the remarks as the Vienna-based pan-European security watchdog is set to hold an emergency meeting on the crisis in Ukraine later on Monday.
The meeting is expected to discuss ways to help release a team of German-led observers who were detained by pro-Russian protesters in Ukraine’s eastern city of Slavyansk on April 25.
The activists detained eight foreign mediators together with five Ukrainians, arguing that they were spying for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Two days later, they freed one of the eight military monitors on medical grounds.
OSCE insists that the team was on a diplomatic mission and was not spying for NATO. However, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the leader of pro-Russian protesters in Slavyansk, has said the detainees had a map marking the militia’s positions.
On April 25, the Kiev government began the second phase of an operation to drive out pro-Russia activists from the country’s eastern parts, where pro-Russian protesters keep occupying state buildings in a number of towns and cities.
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